2 Principles to Follow for Long-Term Local SEO Success

Look, I’ll just be honest and tell you: servicing an area and trying to rank well in many areas outside the city you’re physically located in is hard.

Google’s stacked the odds against you from the outset. You must have one heck of a search presence to have a chance at outranking another business with a physical location in the area.

But take heart – all hope is not lost.

You can compete. Just be aware that it’s not easy. Here’s the general principles you would follow if you wanted to outrank your competitors in their home city:

  1. Spend Much of Your SEO Efforts on Local Pack Rankings, and Realize Google’s Going to Hammer You From Time-to-Time, Even If You Do Everything Right

You must attract links to your location-based pages. You want reviews from customers in these locations. And you want those customers to mention the city name in those pages.

Sounds simple to do, doesn’t it? It’s easy to understand, but difficult to execute in a completely legit, non-spammy way. Some companies do try to manipulate this by hiring people from India to post fake reviews (BIG mistake!).

You may achieve decent rankings for a while. But eventually Google will pummel you down.

Smart SEO companies have strategies to do this in a 100% ethical, long-term way that doesn’t cause rollercoaster-like changes in your rankings.

  1. Do All the SEO Fundamentals Right

What are the fundamentals for ranking in local search? Generally, they’re this:

  • Optimizing landing pages for each city you serve. Load the pages with unique and relevant content.
  • Strategize ways you can get reviews from specific pages onto these pages. You could even do this by writing the review for your customer and asking them to post.
  • Use schema (a totally legit and highly underutilized SEO technique) to mark up the reviews and your name, address, and phone number. Use schema markup in every other way possible to make it abundantly obvious to Google you serve this city.
  • Earn a handful of links that use the city and state you serve in the anchor text.
  • Include links to each location from the rest of the site.
  • And if you’re really serious, open up an office in each physical location you service. Google also requires you to have staff and onsite signs to comply with their guidelines. So, make sure this is a totally legitimate effort to expand your company, and not just one you use to manipulate your search rankings.

This all sounds like a ton of effort. And it is. Google wants only the best businesses ranking in each location. It doesn’t want companies just trying to climb the rankings.

So long-term, focus on building the best company you can. Then, use SEO to increase your reach.

It’s the ensures strategy for success.

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